Happy family

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The most meaningful moments in your life are ones you share with your family, Sandra Magsamen says. She shares advice on fun and creative ways to spend time with your family and create worthwhile memories.
Mother and daughter reading

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Visit a Library
Plan a trip to your local library with your family. Libraries are amazing and wonderful places for people of all ages. You can consider assigning a book for your entire family to read, depending on their ages. Or, after dinner, host an evening when everyone shares what they are reading. You can moderate a family discussion about all the topics that come up.

You also can pick a book to read to your family or chose a book on tape so you can follow along together as the story unfolds.

Libraries also have programs in which storytellers share wonderful tales. There is nothing as joyful as to sit at the feet of a great storyteller and become lost in a beautiful story.
Veggies at a farmer's market

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Go to a Farmers' Market
Visit your local farmers' market and meet your neighbors who have small farms. You'll meet the folks who make cheese, bring eggs to market or grow the most delicious carrots. Spend a morning at the market and purchase delicious goodies to work with as you create healthy and fresh meals.

During strawberry season, purchase local strawberries and make jam or strawberry rhubarb pie. In the fall, purchase garlic and potatoes and roast them with rosemary and olive oil. Also, make delicious salads with fresh lettuce and homegrown tomatoes.
Family with vegetables

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Plant a Family Vegetable Garden
Go online together and research how to create a raised bed garden, or use pots on your porch to plant in. You also can join a community garden and rent a space of land for planting vegetables. However or wherever you grow your vegetables, enjoy nurturing and caring for the seeds as they blossom and yield wonderful delights.

Start small by planting tomatoes, lettuce, basil, onions, squash and green peppers. When your harvest is ready, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Bring the salt shaker to the garden and eat a sun-warmed tomato right off of the vine. Have a party and make tomato and mozzarella salad with fresh basil, or roast your summer squash with onions for a savory treat. Slice your peppers and eat them with a yogurt veggie dip to enjoy the crisp, delightful taste.
Family making pizza

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Make Your Own Pizza
Pick up dough from the grocery store or local pizzeria. Roll it out and top it with any combination of things that you've grown or that you simply love.
Family decorating cupcakes

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Throw a Cupcake Party
Bake and decorate cupcakes like the pros. Then, throw a cupcake decorating party that is sure to delight, spark the imagination, encourage laughter and, best of all, bring your family together for some good, old-fashioned fun.
Dad and daughter making ice cream

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Make Homemade Ice Cream
There is nothing as delicious on warm summer nights as homemade ice cream. There are simple, easy directions that come with ice cream makers when you purchase one. Try making ginger or lavender ice cream, or create your own flavor using cherries, pecans and chocolate chunks. Get creative, and enjoy every single bite of it!
Mother and daughter eating s'mores

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Have a Camp Out
Make a campfire in the backyard to roast hot dogs, sing songs and watch the stars or watch the moon rise when it's full. Don't forget to bring out the marshmallows for s'mores after dinner.
Mother and daughters decorating crafts

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Host a Craft Day
Discover your inner artist and creative passions. There are so many fun craft activities to try and explore, depending on your curiosity.

Head down to your local craft supply store for supplies. Also, consider checking out local classes. In many towns, there are pottery studios where you can create your own pottery.

Encourage your family, to try their hand at:
  • Making jewelry
  • Building models
  • Painting
  • Weaving baskets
  • Making wreaths
  • Scrapbooking
  • Photography
  • Making candles
  • Knitting
  • Sewing
Mother and daughter on the train

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Tour the Town
Make believe you and your children are tourists in your own town. Check the newspaper for festivals and events, and call the tourist department or visitor center for recommendations and best bets in your town.

Take field trips to local sports games, visit museums, go to the zoo, take a train ride, visit an historic mansion or go on a walking tour. Get reacquainted with your town or city and explore it with fresh eyes, as if it was the first time you ever saw it.
Dad and son collecting canned goods

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Lend a Helping Hand
A basic, wonderful truth about all people is that through our choices and actions, we can make the world a better place. We don't have to do huge things to make a big difference. Even the smallest act of kindness has the power to resonate through this sometimes difficult and troubled world.

Individual acts of kindness and generosity of spirit change the world. Kindness is magical and contagious. A single smile brings on another smile; a "good morning" invites another greeting. Thoughtfulness, consideration and care enhance our well-being and others' too.

Ways to volunteer as a family:
  • Work at a homeless shelter
  • Work at a soup kitchen
  • Deliver a meal
  • Drive an elderly person to an appointment
  • Help out at the animal shelter
  • Collect canned goods for food banks
  • Visit a neighbor who lives alone
  • Walk the dog for a friend who is under the weather
  • Make quilts for children in Africa
  • Help raise money for malaria nets
  • Do a walkathon to raise money for breast cancer research
  • Help a child learn to read
There are infinite ways for your family to help in this world. I truly believe it is one of the greatest gifts we teach our children to show them through actions that they can make a positive difference in the lives of others.
Family playing card games

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Play All Day
Have fun, play games, get competitive, make teams and enjoy each other's company. From puzzle-making, to checker tournaments, to card games, to badminton, to charades, to mini golf—there are tons of games your family can play together.

Find something that you love, and make it a tradition. Friday night can become backgammon night. Pop some popcorn, and let the games begin!
Family hiking

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Take a Hike
Walking is good for you, and it's a great way to get some exercise and teach healthy habits to your kids.

Put on your walking shoes and take a hike with the family. There are local trails in most areas, as well as national parks that are filled with marked trails. Walking is a wonderful way to reduce stress and take in the beauty of nature that's all around us.

Take a nature walk, or walk through a garden and take pictures. When you return home, work with your family to make a memory book or frame a few pictures documenting your day. Keep a hiking journal to document walks you've taken and be sure to write down details about each place.

There are infinite ways to spend time with your family. Above all, cherish the time you have with them and let each person know how special he or she is to you. Life is a journey that twists and turns, offering lots of experiences for us to learn. Use your heart as a compass and set out on your way, because there is no better time to start than today.

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